FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — At least three major airlines said they have canceled dozens of flights because illnesses largely tied to the omicron variant of COVID-19 have taken a toll on flight crew numbers during the busy holiday travel season.
Germany-based Lufthansa said Friday that it was canceling a dozen long-haul transatlantic flights over the Christmas holiday period because of a “massive rise” in sick leave among pilots. The cancellations on flights to Houston, Boston and Washington come despite a “large buffer” of additional staff for the period.
More than 3,000 flights scheduled for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have been canceled globally, according to the website FlightAware.
Around 20 percent of those canceled for Friday involved travel within, into or out of the United States, FlightAware said.
So far, 4,604 flights have been delayed. About 500 flights are delayed within, into, or out of the United States on Friday.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines said Thursday that they had canceled hundreds of Christmas Eve flights.
United Airlines confirmed that more than 100 flights that were scheduled for Christmas Eve have been canceled by the company as it grapples with the spread of the omicron variant.
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